Driving a tough bargain with the DMK in a possible electoral pact may not be easy for the Congress whose State president E V K S Elangovan has been pitching for an agreement for sharing power as a precondition to strike an alliance for the next Assembly polls.
Analysts point out that the Congress does not have the required vote share to press for a mandatory coalition arrangement with the Dravidian party. Such hard talk could, however, be possible if the Congress rides piggyback on Vijayakant’s DMDK and collectively bargains with the DMK.
With DMK treasurer M K Stalin and Elangovan often sharing dais and vowing to work as a double barrel gun against AIADMK, it is being speculated that the two parties could come together though they broke up three years ago. In this backdrop, Elangovan has begun to make noises about getting the post of deputy chief minister and key portfolios for Congress should there be a change in regime next year.
But analysts see this as mere posturing. While it was possible for the Congress to force the DMK into parting with 63 seats in the 2011 Assembly elections using the 2G dagger, much water has flown under the bridge since then as the party’s vote share has shrunk to around four per cent. “Elangovan, facing charges of having a slant towards the DMK, could be making such hard demands to placate the anti-DMK voices within his party with the argument that he is only trying to get a share of power for the Congress,” feels political analyst Govi Lenin.
“The Congress does not have the vote share to force a swing in the Assembly elections. Between going to the polls on its own or conceding the demands of the Congress, the DMK could choose the first option as Congress will not make such a huge difference. If the Congress is adamant on its demands, the DMK is likely to consider aligning with other parties like the MDMK,” he adds.
Nonetheless, if Vijayakant joins the alliance bandwagon, then with his larger vote share, he could together with the Congress insist on a coalition arrangement with the DMK, says Lenin.
The Congress, incidentally, could in a limited way become a liability for the DMK considering its apathy during the end-stage ethic war in Sri Lanka.